A bumper week of sales in alternative fish

Fish sales soar as celebrity chef campaign hits home

 

Supermarkets and fishmongers report a bumper week of sales in alternative fish like coley, pollack and mackerel after celebrity chefs team up to champion them

 

Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is leading a campaign to change Britain's fish eating habits 

Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is leading a campaign to change Britain’s fish eating habits
By Richard Tyler 18 Jan 2011 Daily Telegraph 

Billingsgate Market in London has said its 42 traders had seen a surge in demand following the launch of Channel 4’s Fish season last week, which saw chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay extolling the virtues of alternatives to cod, salmon and tuna like coley, Cornish pollack and mackerel.

Tesco, the country’s largest supermarket, said it had sold between 25pc and 45pc more “fresh sardines, coley, brown crab, whiting and sprats” compared to the previous week.

Marks & Spencer said it had its biggest ever week of fish sales, up 25pc on the same week last year, while Sainsbury’s said it had seen 12pc increase in pre-packed fish and a 7pc rise at its fish counters and in frozen fish. Pollock, an alternative to cod, was up 167pc, it said.

“We have managed to get our hands on more Dab than normal. It will influence what our buyer orders,” said a Sainsbury’s spokesman.

Independent fishmongers have also seen a spike in consumer demand and interest in the fish they are buying.

Steve Herbert, who with his brother Graham and their father William, runs W.J. Herbert & Sons on the Wood Green high street, north London, said: “It’s been a good week. Lots of people have been coming up asking about the TV show. There’s been a hell of a lot more coley sold. That had been dropping off.”

However, Mr Herbert said some alternatives like Monkfish and Turbot were too expensive for most customers and even mackerel had risen in price recently. “If the fish is too dear people will just not pay it,” he said.

Mr Herbert said they had seen one-off surges in demand, most notably during the BSE disease crisis that peaked in 1992, and he remained a realist. “We have seen a rise in sales after TV shows before and then it drops away,” he said.

Don Tyler, chairman of the London Fish Merchants Association and a big fan of sprats, said: “Retailers I have spoken to have had a very, very good week. There’s no doubt that the publicity has led the public to be more adventurous.”

He added: “We were very concerned about the publicity over fish getting thrown over board but the campaign has attracted favourable attention to the trade.”

Article reproduced courtesy of Daily Telegraph

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